March 27, 2014

Déodorant

Somehow, despite having lived in France for 4 and a half years (admittedly not consecutively), I have avoided up till now purchasing and using French deodorant. And no, I wasn’t just not wearing it! Somehow the deodorants that I’ve brought with me were enough to last.

I use solid deodorant, and I really made my last stick count. I was stabbing the weird plastic-y part at the end with a q-tip to ensure I got every last bit of use out of it. But, one can only put off the inevitable for so long, and so I ventured forth on the search for French deodorant.

Why was I going to such lengths to avoid French deodorant? Well, I have never seen deodorant in a solid form over here. They tend to prefer aerosols where you spray particles under your arms, or liquids.

Granted, I haven't done an extensive search, but as part of my on going quest to integrate into French culture, I decided to branch out.

While I know some of my fellow Americans use liquid deodorant, I never have. So faced with the unknown and my limited number of options, I went for something my compatriots use: liquid deodorant.


I hate it.

It’s wet. It stays wet. It takes eons to dry. If I’m running late and don’t give myself enough time to dry off, the underarms of my clothes get wet.

It’s cold, and I’m already cold in the mornings.

It’s slimy, and after application my underarms remind me more of frog skin than human skin.


My liquid déodorant, aka early morning torture.

I’m just glad I bought a travel size bottle.

However, my travel size solid deodorant lasted me 6 months... Looks like I’ll have to deal with cold, wet, slimy underarms for a while to come yet.

February 23, 2014

Stage: le début.

For all my complaining about how unorganized my university is, how uncommunicative the professors and administration are, and how nobody ever seems to know what’s going on, I can at least now say that it has prepared me pretty well for the realities of being an intern in France.

After accepting the offer and settling on a starting date in December, come mid-January I still had no information about how my first day was going to be. This continued until the week before my start date, when I decided that I’d rather know than wait around. I called them to double check the starting date and find out what time I was expected. I then learned that I should be there at 9 in order to attend orientation.

While no further details were given, I was at least grateful to know this little tid bit. Knowing the first day was going to include an orientation calmed my nerves.

While I had them on the phone, I wanted to ask if it would be okay if I took an extra long lunch on Thursday in order to pick up the keys to our new apartment. However, they misunderstood me and thought I said lundi (not jeudi). That’s how I discovered that we were to be lunching with our bosses and other new interns on the first day.

I cleared up the confusion, but was glad that there was some otherwise I'm sure I would’ve been kept in the dark until jour j.

Just like orientation for the master, after my day of learning about the operations of the place, I still felt like I knew how nothing worked. We were not told if there was or wasn’t a strict time to come into the office. We had been told we’d learn how to use their time sheet software, but somehow or other it didn’t happen. I was told my desk would just be temporary, as they hadn’t found a place for me just yet. They then gave me a bunch of papers to read to play catch up on my project, and left me to figure it all out on my own.

Three weeks into it, I am getting the hang of things. I was able to figure out the time sheet situation mostly on my own, and as far as I can tell there are no future plans to change my desk.

I guess France is gonna be France. At least I get to look at this on the walk to the métro every day.


La Défense.

February 1, 2014

Goodbye Troyes

This Monday I will start my new internship in Paris and say goodbye to Troyes. While the unknowns before me do make this a stressful change, I will not be sad to leave, at least not in the way I was heartbroken to leave Lille.


Timbered houses in Troyes.

Troyes is a beautiful fairy tale miniature city. But whether it was because the university wasn’t actually in the city, or because I was less interested in the cultural opportunities, or because I’m less impressed with (the 9) medieval churches now that they’ve become the norm, I never made Troyes my city in the way that I did with Lille.

I don’t feel at home here like I did in the North. I felt certain that I wanted to get out of Troyes when I did my internship. However, when we walked to the library today to rent some DVDs, I couldn’t help remarking how beautiful this little city is. And how maybe if I’d been less of a homebody, it could’ve felt more mine.

While it’s been fun living in Champagne and drinking bubbly on the cheap (~13€/bottle!), I am ready for a new adventure.

So Goodbye fair city. I will miss the church view from my bedroom window, the small cobblestone streets and timbered houses, and my favorite pizza place. Thank you for a year and a half of discovery, hard work, and not distracting me too much from my studies. I’m sorry I didn’t get to know you as well as I should.

Until we meet again.

January 25, 2014

Liebster Award


A while ago I was nominated for a Liebster Award by one of my new blogger friends, Dana from As Told By Dana. I've been a bit lazy and the questions she asked were a bit personal so it's taken me a while to get around to it. Nevertheless, I present to you, the Liebster Award!


1. Why did you start blogging?

I started blogging because I wanted to remember every moment where I felt “French.” When French people mistook me for one of them, or I partook in a part of their culture, I wanted to share it. I quickly caught on to the fact that I’ll never be completely French, and now my blog talks more about how weird the French can be (and why I love it).

2. If you could go anywhere in the world, right now, where would you go, and why?

Southern California to spend time with my family and my pets, with a trip to where ever my brother currently is as well. I love to travel and go on adventures, but I have a lot more opportunities to do that than I do to go home and spend quality time with my family. Plus, I could use some good Mexican food.

3. If you had the chance to travel back in time or into the future, which would you pick, and what would you want to see/find out?

I would like to time travel to the future, as Benjamin Franklin said, “The rapid progress true science now makes occasions my regretting sometimes that I was born so soon.” I would love to see the progress humanity has made, not only technologically but also socially.

4. Apple or PC?

Apple. I have a macbook and an iphone.

5. How did we meet?

Through blogland!

6. What is your guilty pleasure?

Right now, it’s Les Ch’tis à Hollywood! I love me some bad French télérealité.

7. At my funeral, I want this song played:

I have thought very little about my funeral. I love Fiona Apple and her album The Idler Wheel is my favorite music so maybe that?

8. What do you think of when you hear, “Wisconsin?”

I think of my cousins. My dad’s sister and her family live in Wisconsin, but it might as well be another country. There are definitely cultural differences between us Californians and them Wisconsinites.

9. What is your favorite season and why?

I think that depends on which country I’m living in! In California, that would definitely be summer. I love spending my days at the beach and nights around a bonfire. In France, it is way too hot and humid in the summer for it to be my favorite. Winter is definitely too cold. I think it rains too much in the Fall, which leaves me with Spring. Spring is probably my favorite season in France because it’s starting to get warm again but it’s not yet humid. Although after writing this I’m coming to realize I might not be all that into this whole season thing, seeing as in Southern California we go from extremely nice weather to a little bit less nice weather during “winter.”

10. I never, ever, want to do this again:

Ride a vomit smelling bus.

11. What do you like most about yourself?

My enthusiasm and excitement about life. I’m a huge geek, love to reread Harry Potter (and read in general), dress up at theme parties, and play games. Sometimes France tries to stifle this part of me, but I really wouldn’t have it any other way, even if it means being a little bit too loud sometimes.


----------------------

And so I pass this award as well as the questions Dana posed onto some of my much deserving blogger friends:

Bread is Pain

Kaley... y mas

My Blondering Life

January 20, 2014

Chez soi.

Winter break was the second time I visited my parents in their new home. The first time I was accompanied by the boy and had so much to show him that nothing felt different, really. Yes, the house was new, but enough of the old pieces of furniture were there (including, as my dad said, “these old pieces of furniture” while referring to himself and my mom) that it still felt like home.

This trip was different. While only a thirty-minute drive away from my old house and my old neighborhood, it was far enough away. I didn’t visit the beach I grew up with. I only got to eat at a handful of my favorite places.

Some of this was due to the fact that my evil brother got me sick and ten days is already too short, but even still it felt more like visiting a new place than coming back to one I knew so well.

I didn’t feel the need to drive down to Beach Cities Pizza and taste the most-delicious-breadsticks-and-ranch-dressing-of-my-life first thing upon arrival, as has been the practice.

There was less urgency in the visit, maybe because I know I’ll come back again some day even if I don't know when. I was more interested in spending time with my family than hitting my old haunts (although I refused to leave California without having gone to the beach at least once).


Obligatory California Ocean sunset picture. The pacific ocean always feels like home.

Part of me can’t help wondering how much of that is due to the fact that France becomes more my home all the time. After summer vacation, I took more things with me to France than I brought back to California. I took things that I’d never taken before, thinking I’d be moving back "home" soon enough.

I still don’t think I’ll live in France for the rest of my life, but it doesn’t feel so temporary anymore. It would seem that France has become more than just my country of residence, even if I need my own personal stash of Cholula to stay sane here.
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